Keystone Canyon Railroad Tunnel
The abandoned Keystone Canyon Railroad Tunnel is accessible in Keystone Canyon near Valdez, Alaska.
How To Get There
Take the Richardson Highway
In the first decade of the 20th Century, J.P. Morgan partnered with the Guggenheims to form the Alaska Syndicate, which controlled vast economic assets in Territory, including the Kennicott Copper Mine. The Syndicate needed a railroad to move its copper out of Kennicott and had its eyes on Valdez as a potential terminus. M.J. Heney, who had built the White Pass & Yukon Railway, began tunneling in Keystone Canyon, but soon abandoned Valdez to build at Cordova instead.
Many locals did not want to see Valdez lose its position as the main port-city in the region to Cordova, and thus sought to build their own railroad, and thus invested in the Alaska Home Railroad Company, organized by Valdez businessman H.D. Reynolds. The Home Railroad Company began again in the canyon, but the Syndicate, which had purchased Heney’s abandoned operation, was determined to have their own railroad built. Keystone Canyon is naturally too narrow to allow more than one railroad, so, predictably, a dispute over right-of-way between the two groups of railroad men arose. The situation erupted into violence on September 25th, 1907 when armed men from both railroad companies battled each other in the Canyon in a shootout with rifles and revolvers that left one man dead, and several others wounded.
The violence halted any railroad building in Canyon, and further complicated the messy web of local and national business interests in the area. Thankfully, M.J. Heney completed the Copper River & Northwestern Railroad a few years later, connecting Kennicott to Cordova, and thus obviating the situation.